The world has changed in 2020. You’ve learned that large scale remote working arrangements can work. After all, one study found that only about 31% of US companies were fully remote in 2019. Use these tips to refresh your sales leadership in managing a remote sales world.
Managing a remote sales team: 3 habits that help
There are three habits you can model for your sales staff to help them reach success.
- Mix up your communication modes
As a sales leader, you probably developed the habit of speaking with your sales staff in person. You might have held daily or weekly sales meetings to provide motivation and direction. In a remote environment, such practices still have tremendous value. However, some adjustments will be needed.
- Acknowledge the limitations of video conferencing:
Have you heard the term Zoom fatigue? It refers to the reality that people find prolonged social interaction through video conferencing exhausting. You can work around this reality by keeping video conferencing sessions short and varied. For example, avoid relying exclusively on top-down “virtual town hall” meetings. Follow the tips from the Harvard Business Review to improve these calls by adding in breaks. Maintaining consistent focus for an hour-long video call is tough!
- Vary between formal and informal communication:
It is easy to overemphasize formal communications in a remote environment, like sending memos and announcements by email. Less structured interactions like discussing your weekend and connecting socially tend to happen less often. Yet, these informal conversations are critical to developing and maintaining relationships. Therefore, make it a priority to add some space to your schedule for casual conversations.
- Help your staff to focus on the next sales action
Working remotely for long periods means that your staff is going to struggle with distractions. If your sales employees are working from home with spouses and children nearby, those concerns are going to be ever present.
As a sales leader, focus your staff on taking proactive sales activity each week. For example, ask them how many people they have contacted by phone and email. If your staff reach out to 5 prospects in the morning and schedule follow up meetings, that is a sales activity win!
- Choose a North Star sales metric
Your sales staff can take many different actions each day. Spending hours on LinkedIn could be a valuable way to research customers or an elaborate way to procrastinate. Micromanaging how sales staff spend their time is not a solution. Instead, set out a clear sales metric that staff members can focus on.
For junior salespeople like sales development representatives, the metric could be the number of sales meetings booked per month. For account executives, the metric might focus on the number of discovery meetings held.
Recruiting remote sales staff successfully: 3 remote tips
Adding new salespeople to your organization is a critical function for every sales VP. Use these tips to increase your remote sales recruiting success rate.
- Attract remote sales staff with an attractive job experience
High-performance salespeople always have options. That means it is your job as the Sales VP to sell your position to candidates. The selling process starts with crafting your remote-friendly sales job posting. For example, outline how reduced commuting means that employees can save money – up to $2600 per year, according to a CNBC survey. If your company offers a home office package (e.g., work computer, phone, desk, etc.), make that clear as well. Describing these benefits in the posting will help to attract interested candidates.
- Explore the candidate’s self-motivation and discipline during the interview
Staying highly motivated in a remote working environment takes discipline. However, directly asking about self-motivation may not give you much useful information.
Instead, look for evidence that candidates have set and achieved challenging goals. For example, look for candidates who have completed a personal goal like fundraising for a major non-profit organization, won in team sports, or exceeded their sales quota.
- Work with a recruiting firm with experience in remote staffing
Improving your interviewing technique and remote-friendly job postings will make a difference. However, none of that matters without candidates. Reach out to us to discuss how to save time on your remote sales recruiting. We can find promising candidates who aren’t actively searching for a new role and bring them to your attention.